Tag Archives: halloween

Will You Really Be Afraid This Halloween?

‘Tis the season to be afraid.

That’s the whole point of the tail end of October, isn’t it?

Just last night I went to Canada’s Wonderland to experience their Halloween Haunt event for the first time ever. As one might assume from its name, the amusement park sets up a number of “Haunted Attractions” which feature such individuals as-

-this lovely couple-

-who stand just out of sight waiting to step out of the shadows and shriek inches from behind your head. Their co-workers also stalk the areas outside, lunging at unsuspecting attendees just trying to get to the next thing before the park closes at midnight. Also included in the event are the rides, which likewise draw crowds looking to be terrified, though in this case by great heights and breathtaking falls [I’m looking at you, Drop Zone {I know it was renamed, but you don’t see me calling the Skydome the Rogers Centre}].

What I’m sure reads very much like an ad for Halloween Haunt 2016 at Canada’s Wonderland aside, that entire evening had me thinking long and hard about fear.  Continue reading

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CWR’s Halloween Recommendations IV

Well my repellent readers, after a horrific hiatus Culture War Reporter’s is back from the grave to fight for your faithful following. And we start with one of my personal favorites, our fourth annual Halloween movie recommendations! Now let us feast!

The Perfect Host

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As a rule, I don’t consider “comedy horror” to be a legitimate subgenre of horror. Things are either scary or they’re funny and mashing ’em together in a movie usually makes sure that it’s neither. That said, 2010’s The Perfect Host may well change my mind about that. Imagine if Hannibal was a black comedy and you pretty much have this delightful hidden gem. We bear witness to an evening of strange events as a conman knocks on the wrong door and gets more than he bargains for. And since you’re wondering, yes, that is Niles from Fraiser. He actually makes a pretty compelling villain.

 They Look Like People

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This is, without a doubt, one of the single best movies I have ever seen.

I cannot sing its praises enough. I’d spend a whole blog post breaking down all the things that make it awesome, but I don’t want to give away a single second of it. Know only that a young man receives a surprise visit from a childhood friend. What follows is a slow-burning, subtle, and staggeringly realistic film in the vein of such masterpieces as Stoker and It Follows. Amazingly written, beautifully shot, and utterly compelling. If you watch literally nothing else on this list, watch this.

 We Are What We Are

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It’s about a family of cannibals. But you knew that. You’d know that from the trailers, from the first five minutes, or from having watched even an episode or two of X-Files. But fortunately, the folks behind We Are What We Are know that you know that, and spend their time making this film less about any cliched twist (though there is certainly an unexpected jolt at the end) and more about painting a vivid and haunting picture of American Gothic. Beautifully shot, amazingly acted, and with a much needed degree of self-awareness that raises this film head and shoulders above it’s just-for-the-fans brethren. Continue reading

Can You Do Halloween Without Buying Into Excessive Consumerism?

We love Halloween. We love getting dressed up. We love carving pumpkins. We love candy.

There is just so much to love, and this year we jumped right into the fray. We even went on John’s first ever haunted house trip, and I had the pleasure of hearing my husband scream in terror.

None of these guys are John, but the same fear is in their eyes.

Unfortunately, Halloween has also become one of the most consumeristic holidays in North America. Here in Canada the amount of money we dish out for Halloween is only second to what we spend on Christmas. Now that Halloween is over, I’ve started to wonder how we could still participate in this holiday without buying in to all the crap we’re told to purchase.

1. Costumes

Back in 2013, when we were still doing CWR roundtables, Evan, Gordon and I debated how we felt about the over-sexualized costumes that pop up every year at Halloween. This year, I’ve noticed a lot of women and little girls responding to the typical sexy Halloween nightmare by dressing as their favourite feminist hero. Some of my favourite feminist costumes this year have been “The Notorious RBG” (baby version) and mini Frida Kahlo.

Real life hero costumes are a great tribute, and usually they only involve a quick trip to the thrift store. However, I love seeing the creative alternative costumes that up-cyclers have come up with in their effort to avoid store-bought costumes.

When it comes to costumes, I’m not too worried. As long as I have a bit of time and creativity, I will always be able to avoid buying a ridiculous dollar store costume. Continue reading

CWR’s Halloween Recommendations III

Well boys and ghouls, it’s once again that time of the year! The annual Culture War Reporters Halloween Recommendations! As always, details will be kept light to avoid spoilers and to maximize your viewing pleasure- that’s just how thoughtful we are.

Let’s dig in.

Jacob’s Ladder

If I could give someone an example of what I think the standard should be for horror movies, it’d probably be Jacob’s Ladder.

In spite of having hit theaters a quarter century ago, Jacob’s Ladder is an absolutely chilling story that’ll unnerve even the most jaded audience of today. This is one of those all-too-rare horror movies- the kind that remember their goal is to horrify the audience, rather than create an iconic monster or lay the groundwork for a franchise. Unassuming, intelligent, and artistic, Jacob’s Ladder provides a relentless march straight through the heart of darkness, and will drag you along (kicking and screaming if need be).

Honeymoon

In an age when footage of films are leaked on a daily basis, where the internet churns out speculation 24/7, where whole scripts can be accidentally (or “accidentally”) uncovered by the ravenous denizens of cyberspace, it can be hard to keep a film surprising.

And against all odds, Honeymoon does just that.

Forgoing jump-scares for haunting character development and unsettling atmosphere, this exquisitely acted movie manages to remain truly frightening even after its whole hideous design has been laid bare. Definitely one worth watching. Continue reading

CWR’s Halloween Movie Recommendations II

Well readers, it’s that time of the year again.

Decorations are going up, costumes are coming out, and here at your favorite blog in the whole wide world, we’ve got your latest batch of chilling and thrilling movie recommendations.

Let’s get to it.

Splice

You know all those classic monster movies with heavy-handed messages about scientists playing God?

This isn’t one of ’em.

Quite the opposite, in fact: Splice is arguably a movie showing just the reverse, the danger of not providing scientists with the necessary resources and trust. And while that’s a long overdue message, beyond that, Splice is a simply fantastic horror flick. Well-acted, well-funded, well-shot, and even if you manage to see certain plot points coming, they’re only made all the more disturbing for it. Continue reading

Fame Day: 봉천동 귀신 [Bongcheon-Dong Ghost]

If you live anywhere in North America [and judging by the site stats that is more than likely] you are probably very, very aware that today is All Hallows’ Eve, which is what I prefer to call what is more popularly known as Halloween. To be very, very clear, I’m not a huge fan of the holiday. In fact, if yesterday’s post was any indication, easily my favourite part of the occasion is saying that things are “spoo-oo-ooky”; it’s a lot of fun, you should definitely try it out.

For real, though. I do not enjoy being scared, nor do I really get kick out of scaring others. I have seen maybe two horror movies in their entirety, and didn’t particularly like either of them. I mean, I appreciate that Paranormal Activity terrified me, but I’ve been informed by many that it is not scary in the least, which might lead you to believe that I am by no means a good judge of the genre.

Which brings me to Bongcheon-Dong Ghost. Continue reading

CWR Writers’ Roundtable: Halloween Costumes

EVAN: Loyal readers, and those who don’t have any strong feelings about the blog whatsoever, welcome to an old feature with a fancier name where the three writers get into the holiday spirit.

That holiday is, of course, All Hallows’ Eve, and the topic we will be discussing is the broadest possible one, at least in my opinion: Halloween costumes.

There are a number of different directions we could go with this, so I’m going to start things off light and ask what our ideal Halloween costumes would be, if we were actually going to dress up. Gordon mentioned earlier this week that he tends not to celebrate holidays, so it’s definitely hypothetical. Continue reading